Lista de Espera

Lista de Espera


Reviewed by: Keith Hennessey Brown

A diverse group of Cubans - including a young engineer going to work on a farm, a young woman going to meet her Spanish fiancee, a blind man, a couple whose marriage has long since lost its spark, and a party official and his family - find themselves stuck at a remote bus station when the much-repaired bus breaks down. The party official leaves on foot, while the rest gradually find their shared situation brings them together such that, when they can finally leave, they don't want to.

Lista de Espera comes across like a socialist reworking of Luis Bunuel's Exterminating Angel. (In case we miss the point, one of the characters mentions watching a film about people mysteriously trapped in a house whose doors are open.) But, where Bunuel presented bourgeois types as ensnared by their own rituals and reacting to their crisis by a reversion to the laws of the jungle, the (mostly) good proletarians of Juan Carlos Tabio's fable respond by pulling together. In transforming the bus station into a kind of socialist utopia they themselves are transformed.

The film has a theatrical feel to it on account of the confinement of the action and its reliance on dialogue. It's perhaps a little too long - always a risk of shaggy dog type narratives - but, aside from this, is a charming little piece of magical realist whimsy.

Reviewed on: 19 Jan 2001
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A group of Cubans create a socialist utopia when they are stranded in a bus station.
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Director: Juan Carlos Tabio

Writer: Juan Carlos Tabio and Arturo Arango

Year: 2000

Runtime: 106 minutes

Country: Spain / Cuba / France / Mexico / Germany


EIFF 2000

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If you like this, try:

Exterminating Angel